Rugby's Blue Plaques

Bennfield House - 24

32 North Street

The Benn family were great benefactors for the town of Rugby. They gave generously towards the upkeep of the church and presented a site in High Street for Rugby’s second town hall.

Centenary of Caldecott Park 1903-2003 - 1

Caldecott Park

Ellen, descendant of Abraham Caldecott Lord of the Manor in 1801, later married Edmund Harris, solicitor, who then held the Lordship until his death in 1893. Passing it to Rugby Council in 1903 to create a public park, they purchased 9½ acres of land for £500 from the Harris daughters. 2009 saw the restoration of the park, thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Dennis Gabor - 23

26 Bilton Road

Born in Hungary on 5th June 1900, he came to England in 1934. He was invited to the British Thomson-Houston factory in Rugby and worked there for 15 years, during which time he invented holography, thereby winning the Nobel Prize in 1971.

Fire mark - 9

5 High Street

Depicting the office of “The Royal Exchange Assurance,” founded 1720. After the great fire of London in 1666, it became evident that some form of compensation was required, so fire insurance companies were formed and the insured building was marked with their emblem. This practice continued for 250 years.

First site of girl's high school - 10

10 Elsee Road

A Rugby native, Olive Hands advertised her fee paying school as a “thoroughly efficient high school for girls” and named it after Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School. In 1919 control passed to Warwickshire County Council and fees were abolished. The school relocated to Clifton Road in 1927 and was renamed ‘Rugby High School’. A third relocation to Longrood Road in late 1950s occurred, but the name remained unchanged.

Gilbert's original workshop - 12

19 High Street

William Gilbert, born in 1799, occupied the site of 19 High Street for around 25 years, from 1815 to 1842. Then in 1842 he moved to 5 St Matthews Street. William made the early balls by stitching four pieces of leather around a freshly removed pig’s bladder. This was inflated by mouth through a clay pipe and the appearance of the ball, much larger and rounder than those of the present day, was dictated by the shape of the bladder. Under the aegis of three generations of Gilberts, the nature of the ball evolved into the more oval-shaped ball.

Jonny Williams - 32

49 Church Street

Williams was born in Wales, moved to Rugby when he was three and began his boxing career in fairground booths collecting money by passing around a hat. After training in Rugby locations such as the Old Co-op building at this site (formerly Lawrence Sheriff Arms), He became British and Empire Heavyweight Champion in 1952. On retiring in 1960, he had a record 60 wins and 38 knock-outs to his name. Williams then became a full time farmer in Newton, Rugby, where his family still live and work.

Last reading of the riot act - 6

Rugby School, The Mound, Barby Road

In 1797, headmaster Henry Ingles discovered a boy using gunpowder illicitly procured as ‘tea’. On blaming the shopkeeper, the boy was flogged for being a liar. In retaliation the boys smashed the shop windows, for which the head demanded they pay. This led to mutiny with the burning of desks and books in the playground. The boys were chased by Mr Butlin JP and apprehended as he read out The Riot Act. In retribution, the head flogged or expelled many boys.

Lawrence Sheriff - 22

Rugby School, Lawrence Sheriff Street

Lawrence Sheriff was born quite near to the present site of Rugby School, of which he was the benefactor. He became a master grocer to Queen Elizabeth I. On his death, he left property in London. The income from this property was used to provide a school for children and four almshouses for the oldest and poorest men of Rugby and Brownsover.

Louisa Daniell - 18

21 Bilton Road

Founder of the first Soldiers’ Home in Aldershot. Born in Bath, Louisa married Frederick in 1833 and came to Rugby as a widow in 1849 to educate her son at Rugby School. In 1857 her missionary work began. She opened a mission hall in Pailton in 1860, followed by one in Hillmorton a year later.

Mary Ruth Brooke - 28

24 Bilton Road

Mother of Rupert Brooke, poet. In this house Rupert Brooke completed the five sonnets called ‘1914’, including ‘The Soldier’. Mary was an active figure in Rugby, working tirelessly for the Liberal cause, and as a magistrate attended to her duties up until her death in 1930 aged 82.

Matthew Bloxham - 25

The Percival Guildhouse, St Matthews Street

Matthew Holbeche Bloxam was an antiquarian with many interests, including architecture and archaeology. He wrote a book on gothic architecture that was published in 1829 and ran to ten editions. During his life, he worked in Rugby as a solicitor and became clerk to the justices. Many works about Rugby and its neighbourhood were published after his death.

Medieval moat - 14

Jubilee Gardens, Regent Place

The remains of the moat were destroyed when Regent Street was built in 1902. The street occupies the grounds of Moat House, which stood in Church Street. The moat had already been partially filled in by 1850.

Moat House, Wratislaw family - 26

14 Church Street

Moat House was a regency house built by W F Wratislaw before 1820. He lived and had his solicitor’s business there until his death in 1853. John Darby, a well- known horse dealer, occupied it in 1879. Tattershalls, the London horse dealers, leased premises behind, to serve as their Midlands branch.

Original Town Hall - 7

31-32 High Street

The first town hall built in 1857 housed coun cil offices, sessions, courtrooms, assembly room and market hall/corn exchange. In 1900 it moved, to be replaced by private businesses. As a cinema in 1921 the building became fire damaged and was then bought by Woolworths. Only three bay windows of the 1919 extension remain above.

Queen Victoria Jubilee - 29

The Clock Tower, Market Place

This was erected to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria. J Parnell was the local builder and the materials used were granite for the base, with Derbyshire gritstone and infilling of Northamptonshire ironstone. Anthony Benn presented the clock to the town as a gift.

R Burton, P Batt, M Burton - 30

12 Albert Street

Members of Howkins and Harrisons, chartered surveyors and auctioneers, and past presidents of the Rotary Club of Rugby. R H M Burton 1955 – 1957 P A Batt 1977 – 1978 M M Burton 1979 – 1980.

Richard Elborowe - 13

Corner of Sheep St and Lawrence Sheriff St

In 1645 Richard Sr. from Yelvertoft, a leading member in the town, bought this site and had a house built. Richard Jr. was born here - and after making his fortune in London re turned to Rugby in 1688. He later endowed a - school originally for 30 boys and almshous es for 6 widows, both in High Street (now re-located).

Richard Henry Wood - 17

Little Church Street

Richard and his wife Elizabeth were the founders of Rugby’s Hospital of St Cross in 1884. Richard founded the Wood Institute for adult learning and in 1890 gave money to build the first Public Library

Richard Lindon - 27

6 Lawrence Sheriff Street


Richard Lindon, the inventor of the inflatable india rubber football bladder, lived and worked in Rugby. The bladders were used for both round and oval balls. He conducted his business on this site.